TikTok CEO says company is at ‘critical’ moment as calls for US ban grow

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said the Chinese-owned short video app company faces a critical moment as more and more US lawmakers seek to ban the popular app over security concerns. nation.

The app now has more than 150 million monthly active users in the United States, Chew said in a video posted on TikTok early Tuesday. “That’s almost half of all Americans coming to TikTok,” Chew said. TikTok in 2020 says it has 100 million users in the US.

“Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok,” said Chew, who will testify on Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Now this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you,” he said in the video, which features the US Capitol.

He asked TikTok users to leave comments on what they want US lawmakers to know about “what you love about TikTok”.

Chew also said 5 million US businesses use TikTok to reach customers.

TikTok’s critics fear its US user data could be passed on to the Chinese government by the app, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. TikTok denies spying allegations.

TikTok also said on Tuesday that it had updated its community usage guidelines and provided more details on its plans to protect US users’ data. The company said it began deleting US users’ protected data this month at data centers in Virginia and Singapore after it began routing new US data to the Oracle Cloud in 2016. last.

Last week, TikTok said the Biden administration had asked TikTok’s Chinese owners to divest their stake in the app or it could face a US ban.

TikTok, which says it has spent more than $1.5 billion (about Rs 12,396 crore) on rigorous data security efforts, said “if protecting national security is the goal, then divestment does not solve the problem.” solves the problem: changing ownership will not impose any new restrictions on data flow or access.”

An increasing number of US lawmakers support a ban on TikTok. This includes Energy and Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, congressional aides told reporters on a call Monday. On Friday, six more US senators supported bipartisan legislation to give Biden new powers to ban TikTok.

On March 1, the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted partisan to give President Joe Biden new powers to ban TikTok.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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